Saturday, June 30, 2012

Lovin' Summer

Life has been so busy lately, I haven't had a moment to blog!  From Canadian visitors and quilting camp to Father's Day celebrations and a wedding in Chicago, it's been crazy and fun.  I've attached some Instagram photos below (Since I am blogging from my phone, I'm not going to number the pictures because I have no idea what order they'll show up in - sorry!):

Aian loves the aquatic park.

Aidan, Leo and I spent a few days at my parents house and enjoyed time with cousins and grandparents!

Our Jeep received a new battery when he couldn't be jumped.

Quilting camp at Country Threads.  So fun!

Taking the train to Chicago for a wedding.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Reformation Midwest

“Seek fellowship among those who share your [theological] vision of the renewal that the Christian world needs, even the evangelical world. Recognize that spiritual truth and spiritual renewal are the primary things, and that ecclesiastical matters come second. Then, the Lord will be with you, will bless you, and use you. So may it be. Amen.”
J.I. Packer (in an interview with Carl Trueman)

When asked in seminary where he hoped to minister, Brian always responded with, "The Midwest".
No, it wasn't primarily because that's where our families are located.
It was primarily because he sensed the need for a "Reformation" in the Midwest.

I didn't fully understand what Brian meant until he took his first pastorate in northern Iowa - the Midwest.
Now I understand that there is a lack of Reformed Christians in the Midwest.
It's sad.

 While my tendency is to run back to where it's "safe" (a richly Reformed area), Brian's is one of perseverance.  Like a salesman, he desires to stay to convince others that the product he's "selling" is the Truth.  Reformed doctrine is not man-centered.  It's Christ-centered.  Reformed doctrine isn't watered down.  It's like a glass of dark, red wine while American evangelicalism is dark, red wine  diluted with 3/4 water.  Reformed doctrine satisfies the longings of the soul through Christ.  Reformed Christians strive to cherish Jesus above all things.
One of the reasons I love my husband, in addition to his persevering nature, is because he has brilliant ideas.  As of late, Brian is working to spread a passion for Christ by training local pastors and church leaders in Reformed theology.  He's even created a FB page, blog, and a Twitter account for Reformation Midwest.  We long for Midwest fellowship as stated in the Packer quote above.  I pray that through Reformation Midwest, his preaching and teaching, and conversations with Christians, the Holy Spirit will change hearts & minds for a Reformation Midwest!

Won't you, too, pray for a Reformation Midwest!?

Monday, June 18, 2012

Pray for the Gutierrez Gang

Please join me in praying for my sweet seminary friend, Alicia, and her family.  Her husband graduated with Brian from Wscal, and they are now in missionary training in Bogota, Colombia.  Alicia travels alone daily to her language class and was recently the victim of an armed robbery.

Here is her story:

Praise the LORD for protecting her life, strengthening her through His Word, and giving them the wisdom and means to provide a safer means of transportation.
Pray that she would continue to trust in all of God's promises, knowing how much He cares for her. 
Pray that she would be full of joy despite such oppressive circumstances.
Pray that she would love, treasure, and desire Christ above all things - even more than the comforts of the USA that she longs for.
Pray that she wouldn't be tempted to give up in frustration or bitterness, but that she would persevere in the strength that only Christ can provide.
Pray that their family would be free of ill health and danger.
Pray that she would rejoice always (Phil 4:4).
Pray that she would not be anxious about anything (Phil 4:6).
Pray that her heart would be content (Phil 4:11) and satisfied in Christ alone.

Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own.  But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:13-14

The Lunds love you, Alicia and Nathaniel, and we are covering you in our prayers always.  We are so proud of you and how you've been obedient to Christ's calling on your lives.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


Aidan, Leo, and I took a mini-vacation to visit my parents last week.
We had two wonderful, fun-filled days and then the two-year molars reared their ugly heads.  The next three days were filled with tears, fussy-ness, and clingy-ness.  It was so hard.
The lawnmower was one of the only things that soothed this boy.
He took many, many trips down the road with Grandma.

When the Tylenol was working, Aidan liked to climb in Grandma's Jeep.

Auntie Callie and Uncle Andy came up for the weekend, too! Our intent was to go to the woodtick races (my tick was going to beat Auntie Callie's tick), but it was so unfortunate that "little buddy", as Auntie would say, was feeling so poor.  They were all very patient with him and his fussiness - thanks, guys!  Callie & Andy did both mention, however, that their experience this weekend was very good birth control!

We left on Monday to meet up with some good friends in the Cities.  Brian met us there too.  We dropped Leo off at Doggy-Daycare and spent the day at Como Zoo!  It was super fun to see such dear friends.  It was also a joy to watch our boy point out all the animals and giggle with glee.  His favorites were the "monks"...monkeys.  He also asked for the cows.  Yes, he's from Iowa.  ;)
Kyle, Judah, Evie, Aidan, and Brian

The big guys with their little guys at the lion cage.
Aidan was super concerned (ok, a little OCD) about the fact that the lion's swimming pools (just like his at home) were empty.  He kept pointing and yelling, "Water!  WaTERRRR!"

My men visiting the polar bears.

Our sweet friends.

It was a great mini-vacation, but we were so glad to get home.  Aidan's been sleeping well, his teething has stopped causing him so much grief, and we're back on a good schedule.
Thanks, Mom & Dad, for hosting us!  We love you and can't wait to see you in July!

Gospel Amnesia

Each month, Brian writes a letter to our congregation.  The letters are always SO good - encouraging and motivating.  Here's is July's letter:

Dear Zion,
Quick – pop quiz: what is the Gospel? It seems a simple enough question, right? We hear about the Gospel in every Sunday sermon. We learned about Jesus’ virgin birth, perfect life, substitutionary death, and resurrection to save us through faith and repentance since we were little. Ok then, next question: do you know how the Gospel relates to whatever you’re going through right now? Or, have we become like many people today who are suffering from “gospel amnesia” – we’ve got the facts, but we’ve forgotten its immediate relevancy?

One of my former professors, Dr. David Powlison (CCEF), is a licensed and practicing counselor. He had undergone heart surgery in his fifties, and though the surgery was successful, it took over five years for him to return to full strength. There were numerous losses to his personal, social and professional life due to his recovery. He found that he would go to important counseling meetings and mediation sessions, and was horrified to find that there would be times when he could not complete his thoughts. He was paralyzed by the thought that his life as professor and counselor might be at an end – who would ever go to a counselor that couldn’t complete his own thoughts, much less help the patient? Who would hire him as a professor to teach young minds, when his own mind was clouded?
Finally, at one point in this terrifying reality of not being able to think straight, II Corinthians 12:9 dawned afresh on Dr. Powlison. When the Apostle Paul was struggling with the thorn he had received from the Lord, he pleaded with God to remove it. Instead, God reminded Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” That verse pierced all the way to Powlison’s heart, and he realized, “It finally became clear to me that the foundation of my life is not what I do or the gifts that I have. [The foundation of my life] is the God whose power is perfected in weakness, whose grace is sufficient. It was as if something inside me just… relaxed, and I was able to have peace in that.” He went to sleep that night, peaceful and lucid, relaxing in the God who was bigger than his problems.

It turned out that through communicating with his pharmacist, much of Powlison’s debilitating weakness was a side effect of his medication from his heart surgery. But instead of reacting in anger or frustration, Powlison took a different response. He disclosed, “It was such a wonderful picture of God’s multi-factored love: that He would both do the deep spiritual work of rooting out the temptation to build your life on abilities, and yet at the same time He mercifully preserved some of those abilities.” God didn’t have to do either in Powlison’s life. He could have let him continue in a spiritual stupor; God didn’t have to restore his mental abilities. But God both removed the spiritual blindness and the physical hardship. The result left my professor wildly praising his merciful and glorious Savior!

What about you? Would you have wanted God to shine His light on the real desires of your heart, or would you simply have wanted all the problems to just “go away?” And looking back on it all, could you have given thanks for the crushing blow of memory loss, if only because of how Jesus used the event in your heart?

It is in times like these that our idols of comfort and happiness are exposed. We realize that we’ve had “gospel amnesia” – we still know the facts of the Gospel (that Jesus died and rose again), but we’ve lost that knowledge for how it impacts our day-to-day events! We need God to swoop in, set us free from our bondage to “what makes me happy,” and redirect us to living for Him. Our Savior doesn’t guarantee our happiness; He guarantees He’s working for our holiness. And it is that holiness that will ultimately give us the greatest joy imaginable: life in God’s presence! “In Your presence is fullness of joy! At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11).
Let’s pray that Almighty God would make Zion a place where the Gospel isn’t assumed, but instead the Gospel is the power that God supplies to make our church grow into salvation. Let’s pray that every person, from our kids to our oldest members, and that every family, would understand how the Gospel is God’s promise to them to work in their lives no matter what they are currently experiencing. And as we learn to treasure Jesus above comfort, happiness, and anything else this world could offer, may we shine our light for all to see, that they would find the power of Jesus’ Gospel in their lives too!

Praying with you to be amazed by the Gospel every day,
Pastor Brian

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Tractor Parade

Miss Karla called on Saturday to inform Aidan that her tractor parade was coming through town!
With 10 minutes to spare, we raced down to Main Street and watched for the tractors.
Aidan was in his glory.
(Notice that he's sportin' his John Deer boots.)

Waiting for the tractors.
Yay!  Tractors!
Aidan is mesmerized at first.
Then the excitement begins...
He's clapping, jumping, waving, and yelling, "HHIIIII Tractors!  HHIIIIII!"
And there's Miss Karla!
She and Kevin revved their engines for him, and he thought that was so cool!
This is Mr. Loren from church.
His wife makes the best strawberry pie!

All the tractors then joined at the high school for rootbeer floats.
We followed!
Nolan, Karla's firstborn, was driving Karla's tractor when we arrived.  He was sweet enough to let Aidan sit by him!  Thanks, Nolan!
Aidan ate two chocolate chip cookies and a rootbeer float (thanks, Karla!) before it was time for all the tractors to head for home.
Mr. Ed, Karla's dad, with her son, Reed.
Nope, Aidan doesn't want to ride with Miss Karla.
He's just entered into this "scared" stage.
Is that a two-year-old thing?
I'm not a fan!
Myra with her mama.
Off they go!
"Buh-bye!" Aidan says.
Aidan and Leo watched and watched until every tractor was out of the parking lot!
What a good time.
Aidan squealed with delight the whole way home!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Happy Birthday, Leo!

Happy first birthday, sweet Leo!

In honor of his big day, Leo ate some special treats and was treated very special.
We sang Happy Birthday.
Rib "Cake"

Singing to Leo.
Leo let Aidan blow out his candle!

This afternoon we ventured to a nearby state park so that Leo could swim!
It was such a beautiful and perfect day - no bugs or humidity!
Leo had a blast fetching sticks in the water.
Aidan enjoyed wading and going down the big slides!
Our camera battery died so the following pictures are from Instagram.

We also stopped at the Clear Lake DQ to get Leo a vanilla cone.
I think Aidan enjoyed his cone the most.

[In case you're wondering what Aidan is wearing, it's my tank top.  He face planted into the water at the lake and, being the novice mom that I am, I didn't have a change of clothes along.  Aidan thought it was funny that he had to wear Mama's clothes!]

What a perfect day!
Happy first birthday, Leo Lund!
We love you and are thankful God has given you to our family!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Go to Church, Jesus lovers!

That's what I'd like to say.
(I need more grace and love in my heart!)
When I complained to my husband about the nine-monthers (those who attend church only during the school year so their children can attend Sunday school) and sporadic church attendance, he emailed me this article by John Newton, an eighteenth century British pastor and author of the hymn "Amazing Grace", who wrote this lovely, grace-filled letter to his congregation regarding their attendance:

“The only cause of grief that you have given me is that so many of those to whom I earnestly desire to be useful refuse me the pleasure of seeing them at church every Sunday.  I’m not troubled because the pews are empty.  If a large congregation could satisfy me, then I would already be satisfied (the pews are full).  But I must grieve because I see so few of my own parishioners in the full pews.  God has not been pleased to place me elsewhere, he saw fit to fix me among you.  This appointment gives you a preference in my regard and it makes me studiously attentive to promote your best welfare.”

“If I am a servant of God, a minister of the Lord Jesus Christ, if I speak the truth in love – how can I not be pained at the thought that many to whom the word of salvation is sent refuse to hear it and reject the counsel of God against themselves (Acts 13:26, Luke 7:30)!  Most of you agree with me that Scripture is God’s revelation. But do not some of you act inconsistently with your acknowledged principles?  Your business and entertainment indispose you for due observation of our church services.  You have other things to do, so you miss many sermons.”

“I have done my best to avoid whatever might give you needless offense.  I knew that if I would be faithful to Scripture and my conscience, that some of my hearers would be displeased.  But, though I was constrained to risk your displeasure, I have been careful not to needlessly provoke you, or to lay any unnecessary difficulties in your way.”
So that I may not weary my hearers by the length of my sermons, I carefully endeavor not to exceed forty-five minutes.  Many people can give their attention to trivial entertainment for several hours without weariness, but their patience is quickly exhausted under a sermon where the principles of Scripture are applied to the conscience.”

“I am not a polished orator nor do I wish to capture your attention by the elegance of my words.  If I had the ability to use elegant words and capture your attention with them, I would not do it.  I speak to the unlearned and the wise, so my principal aim is to be understood.  Yet I hope that I am not wrongly charged with speaking nonsense, with flippancy, carelessness, or disrespect.  But alas! There are too many hearers who seem more desirous of entertainment than of real benefit from a Christian sermon!”
“My heart longs for your salvation; but whether you will hear or whether you will not, I must take your consciences to witness that I have been faithful to you.  If after this warning any of you should finally perish, I am innocent of your blood (Acts 20:26).”
“You know the difficulty of my situation and will assist me with your prayers.  I trust likewise you will assist me with your conduct, and that your lives and godly speech will constrain the ungodly to acknowledge that the doctrines of grace which I preach – when rightly  understood and embraced – make a person peaceful, content, loving, and full of humility.”

How beautiful.
How loving.
How gracious.